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Programs to Seniors Will Be Cut If Federal Sequester Happens on Friday

Congress returned to Washington, DC from a week-long recess this week, but news sources say they are no closer to averting the March 1 across-the-board cuts called the sequester.

Staff members representing the Southwest Missouri Office on Aging (SMOA) are once again asking citizens to write or call their congressmen and ask them to reinstate the Older Americans Act.

If the proposed across-the-board cut goes into effect via sequestration on March 1, vital services to senior citizens will be affected, such as the local Meals-on-Wheels program, adult transportation (like OATS), and in-home health services

Those close to the situation say any “savings” from the sequester would pale in comparison to the added costs from premature nursing home placement for seniors who can no longer remain in their homes and communities; poorer nutrition and health consequences; and increased falls and other avoidable crises that put vulnerable seniors at risk.

You may contact your federal representative or senator in one of the following ways:

Call the Capitol Switchboard (202-224-3121). They can connect you to your senator or representative’s office.

E-mail each member’s website and submit your comments there. To find their websites, go to (House): tatives/find/#listrep. (Senate):

After identifying yourself as a constituent, tell them that the sequester must be averted and any deficit reduction agreement to replace it should take a balanced approach.

The Ava Senior Center says no new individuals can be added to the meals program unless they are Medicare eligible.

The meals program is vital to many senior citizens and other homebound individuals in our area because the program not only assures them of receiving at least one nutritious meal each day, but it also gives them a contact with the outside world that homebound folks may not have.